A Community Forum sponsored by the Beacon Hill Civic Association to discuss the city’s potential plans for replacing the more than 1,100 gas streetlights in the neighborhood with electric light fixtures, which was scheduled for tonight (Thursday, April 7) at 74 Joy St., has been postponed.
“City officials have recently informed the BHCA that it is the City’s intent to convert all of the gas lamps in the City to “historically-respectful LED lights, but [the City] will move deliberately in that process,” reads an April 5 email from the Civic Association in part. “The City officials have requested that before they participate in such a Community Forum on Beacon Hill to discuss the City’s plan, they be given more time to gather feedback from historic neighborhoods including Beacon Hill, Bay Village, Back Bay and Charlestown, where there are currently over 2,800 gas streetlights.”
Additionally, the Civic Association stated: “The BHCA has had many questions from our residents concerning the City’s plan, including concerns regarding the estimated cost to the City of over $40 million to remove and replace just the existing Beacon Hill gas street lamps – and well over $100 million to remove and replace all of the City’s gas street lamps – and the anticipated multi-year disruption to all of our neighborhood streets and sidewalks from the excavation work that will be need to be done to remove and replace the Beacon Hill gas street lamps, as well the removal of the underground gas lines, and the installation of electric power lines, on every single Beacon Hill street.”
At the request of neighborhood residents, the Civic Association is also asking the city “whether there are other ways to reduce the amount of natural gas used in the Beacon Hill gas lamps, and thereby reduce carbon emissions, without entirely removing the gas lamps and tearing up our streets and sidewalks for years in the process,” according to the email.
A new date for the rescheduled Community Forum will be announced after the Civic Association has a better idea of the availability of city officials to have what is described as “a robust and transparent discussion about these questions and concerns and the impact on our neighborhood of the City’s plan to remove and replace all of Beacon Hill’s more than 1,100 historic gas lamps.”